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Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary

By Vishnudas
Aralam Wildlife SanctuaryThe Aralam wildlife sanctuary is the northernmost one in Kerala and is located on the western slope of the Western Ghats.
This wildlife sanctuary was established 1984 and covers an area of 55 sq. kms. The sanctuary encompasses the area between the villages of Kelakam, Kottiyoor and Aralam and merges with the forests of Coorg in Karnataka. The sanctuary is a part of the Kannur district and is located in the south-eastern part of the district. This sanctuary being situated on the slopes of the Western Ghats gives it an elevation ranging from 50 metres to 1145 metres above sea level. Being located on the leeward side of the Western Ghats, this sanctuary is known to receive high amounts of rainfall which averages to 4000 mm during the monsoonal months of June, July and August.

Flora and Fauna

The Aralam wildlife sanctuary due to its high amount of rainfall and climatic conditions has given rise to tropical and semi-evergreen forests. The flora that you can find here can be said to be endemic to the Western Ghats and cannot be found in other drier parts of the state. It is also very rich in eucalyptus and teak trees which are a part of a plantation programme. Also to be noted is the central state farm that is located in the village of Aralam which was sanctioned by the central government of India in the year 1971 covers an area of 3060 hectares. This farm is said to be India’s highest producer of coconut hybrid seeds.
The fauna that can be found here includes the Asian elephants, gaurs, spotted deer, sambar, Malabar giant squirrels, the Nilgiri langur, hanuman langur, barking deer, jungle cats, leopards, boars etc. One can also find many reptiles on the forest grounds or the tree tops such as lizards, snakes and monitors. The sanctuary is also home to various aviary creatures but they are hard to spot due to the dense tree tops.

Attractions (In and Around)

Katti Betta- this is the highest point in the sanctuary. One can get picturesque views of the surrounding areas from atop this peak. A walk to this peak through the dense cool forests is a great experience. On the way up you can see a lot of wildlife such as various herds of deer, sambar, gaur, langur etc. Hiking- this is one of the best ways to enjoy the forests and its bounty. Take a walk in the well canopied forest that echo with calls of birds, deer and the chatter of langur. Sighting wild animals such as the barking deer, sambar, spotted deer, gaurs, nilgiri langur and elephants are quite easy; however the jungle cats and leopards are very rare for a visitor to spot.

Accommodations and Restaurants

There are many hotels located at a short distance drive from the sanctuary where you can put up. Some of the nearest ones are Parisons Plantations Experiences (19 kms away), KTDC Tamarind (19.4 kms away), the Silver Oaks home stay (22 kms away) and hotel Southern Star (19.5 kms away). As there are no restaurants in the sanctuary you can bring packed lunch or drive a short distance to get some. There are two restaurants that you could go to if hungry and they are the Food Palace restaurant (7.5 kms away) and Fresh Juice center (15 kms away).

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit it would be between the months of June and October. During this time, weather conditions are pleasent and favourable for wildlife viewing and trekking. The foothills temperature at Aralam ranges from 21 degree Celsius to 40 degree Celsius and a higher altitude it reaches 8 to 25 degree Celsius. It is advisable not to visit it during rainy season as the wildlife sanctuary receives heavy rainfalls measuring 3000 mm.

Getting In

The nearest airport is Karipur international airport, 96 kms away from the town of Thalassery and the nearest railway station is of Thalassery 55 kms away. Travelling by road is another excellent medium to reach Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary as by road from Thalassery it is 45 kms and from Kannur also it is 45 kms.

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